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Study under review: Composition differences between organic and conventional meat: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis
The past decade has seen substantial increases in consumer demand for organic food, with organic food sales more than tripling since 2004 and accounting for more than 3.5% of total U.S. food sales. This increase has been driven, in part, by perceptions that organic foods are healthier and safer to eat than their conventional counterparts.
Whether these perceptions are true has been evaluated in numerous studies over the past 20 years. Most recently, a systematic review and meta-analysis of 343 peer-reviewed studies published since 1992 found that organically grown crops have significantly greater antioxidant activity and bioactive compounds (phenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, etc.) and significantly less cadmium (a toxic metal) and pesticide residue compared to conventionally grown crops. There was also significantly less protein and more carbohydrate content in organic crops.
Aside from analyses on plant foods, there weren’t any published meta-analyses comparing organic to conventional meat. This information would be helpful for consumers who are deciding whether buying organic meats is worth the extra cost, at least from a nutritional standpoint. Accordingly, the current study was a meta-analysis designed to identify nutritional differences between organic and conventional meats.
Organic sales have been increasing over the past decade, due in part to beliefs that organic foods are healthier. However, most research has studied organic agriculture. The current study evaluated nutritional differences between organic and conventional meats.
Other Articles in Issue #17 (March 2016)
Kneed relief? Try collagen
Glucosamine has gotten the bulk of public attention concerning joint health, and most of the studies, but small amounts of undenatured collagen may be as or more effective for arthritis symptoms.
Chromium has long been viewed as a potential anti-diabetic supplement. But the form of chromium in supplements may not always be the final form your cells get. This study looked at a potential connection to cancer, through testing extremely high dose chromium exposure.
Fish oil and football: an unlikely pair
Head trauma from football, and its delayed (and catastrophic) health effects, are a major issue in sports today. What if something as simple as fish oil supplementation could help with this
- Interview: Marie Spano, MS, RD
Protein: sleep fuel?
Protein is typically thought of as a muscle-building supplement, but its uses go beyond that. This study looked at the potential for protein supplementation to improve sleep during a weight-loss diet.
Creatine, depression, and brain energetics
The human brain is a powerhouse, consuming tons of fuel to keep all those intricate neural connections going. Brain energetics may play a role in major depression, which makes creatine a potential adjunct to antidepressants and therapy.
The taurine-blood pressure connection
With well over half of Americans having either hypertension or prehypertension, effective supplements are a highly researched area. The amino-acid like compound taurine may be a safe and easy-to-obtain treatment option.
- Interview: Matt Smith MD
Vitamin D for MDD
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a condition without many effective treatments, or at least treatments lacking side effects. Vitamin D has been linked to improved mood, and this trial tested it specifically for MDD